Title: Parting Words (Part #1) – The High Calling of a Shepherd Leader
Scripture: 1 Peter 5: 1 – 7 & Hebrews 13: 17
Preacher: Rev Ashok Amarasingham
1.1 Parting Words (Part One) “Tell Us What Is on Your Heart, Pastor, Before You Officially Leave Our Church”.
1.1.1 No vested interest – “Say it as it is…”
1.1.2 Today I share on the High Calling of a Shepherd-Leader (specifically: pastors but also generally: church leaders)
* 3C’s: Calling, Character & Competence.
* The image of a pastor has eroded over the decades.
1.1.3 Blind Spots & The Lack of Sensitivity.
* There needs to be a healthy balance between being insensitive and being overly sensitive.
* I unequivocally apologise for my wrongdoings to you over the past 12 years and ask for your forgiveness.
1.1.4 Final Aim: Try to Smoothen the path for the new pastor to come here in 2021.
* May God bless Rev Gaurri Maniam and her ministry in WMC Klang in the years ahead.
1.2 Focus for Today
As the Chief Shepherd (Jesus) will reward you one day, remember your calling by Jesus as a shepherd leader and be faithful to serve Jesus and others.
2) WE HONOUR PEOPLE THAT GOD HAS CALLED IN THE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE…THE PASTOR IS OVERALL IN-CHARGE OF THE LOCAL CHURCH BUT JESUS IS SUPREME (PASTOR) OVER ALL CHURCHES.
2.1 Peter was called by Christ to be the head leader of the church.
2.1.1 Peter was specially called by Jesus and Jesus never “let go” of Peter.
* Peter only saw his wretchedness but Christ saw beyond his wretchedness. Christ saw God’s grace being poured out abundantly upon Peter (Luke 5: 1-11).
* Peter was restored and “re-called” by Christ and on Pentecost, Peter boldly preached that Jesus is both Christ & Lord.
2.1.2 The New Testament era sees a leadership structure emerging in the early church: Overseers, Elders & Deacons (1 Timothy 3: 1-13 & Titus 1: 5-9).
2.2 We honour and obey our leaders and submit to their authority (Hebrews 13: 17)
2.2.1 Why honour them?
Because God called them into leadership and they must be accountable to God for pastoring the people.
2.2.2 The pastor-leader is happy and contended…it is a joy to lead the sheep.
2.3 Because Jesus is the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5: 4), the Shepherd-Overseer of our souls (2: 25) and walked the path of suffering before the glory (2: 21)…pastors and leaders can suffer in their ministry
3) CHARACTER & COMPETENCE: WHILE COMPETENCE IS GAINED FROM EXPERIENCE, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT ONLY HAPPENS WHEN THE PASTOR/LEADER WILLINGLY FOLLOWS THE FOOTSTEPS OF CHRIST
3.1 Pursuing earthy gold and silver (wealth) has no value compared to the truly valuable items in God’s eyes.
3.1.1 The words to describe these items…
* inheritance in heaven that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading (1:4)
* genuineness of your faith that is more precious than gold (1:7)
* you were ransomed not with perishable things like gold or silver but by the precious blood of Christ (1:18-19)
* the unfading crown of glory (5:4)
3.2 Peter was willing to repeatedly put himself on the turntable of humility (Potter is Jesus) so that he became a worthy vessel of the Master
3.2.1 Peter passed with flying colours in servant leadership (read 1 Peter as the antidote to this pandemic year)
3.2.2 Peter understood that Jesus’ disciples are but sojourners (2:11) in a foreign land and suffering was a necessary process of developing godly character.
3.2.3 Character is so very important. The Christian can reach the giddy heights (on eagles wings) of maturity by…
3.3 PRACTICAL APPLICATION (Specific to a change of pastor)
3.3.1 Takeaway Item One:
Competence will certainly come with years of experience but all pastors need to be humble and willingly submit to Christ.
3.3.2 Takeaway Item Two:
Never compare one pastor with another. Why?
1) Every pastor is unique with a unique personality and giftedness
3.3.3 Takeaway Item Three
Please do not call or whatsapp me in 2021 to say how good a pastor I was compared to the new pastor. Why?
It is a useless exercise that will only inflate my ego.
However, do report to me how you see God’s grace working in the new pastor.
3.3.4 Takeaway Item Four
Maximise Relationship Building with the pastor especially in the first year of ministry. Why?
* Strong relationships are the foundation for strong working relationships
* It will help in the future with regards to conflict resolution.
3.3.5 Takeaway Item Five
If you have an issue with the new pastor…
1) don’t talk to me!
2) do talk to the new pastor (with a good listening ear)
3) do talk to the key leaders ie LCEC Chairman, Lay Leader or PPRC Chairman.
4) do talk to the colleagues of the new pastor.
5) never talk to “all & sundry” who have no idea of what is happening!
3.3.6 The fine check and balance system in the Methodist Church: The Pastor Parish Relations Committee (PPRC).
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